Although it was the late Caleb Conroy's sky blue eyes and sable hair that drew me to him first, it was his sense of humor and southern accent that made me want to always be in his company.
I bemoan his assertiveness every day. I treasured hearing the regional jargon, with sentences that often ended with the word "Honey" from him. Vernacular like this: "Miss Priscilla's wearing her upside-down smile again. She won't be winning herself any pageant crowns today, Honey." He used to call me "Miss Priscilla" whenever he saw that I was upset. Getting a phenomenally in-shape body seemed to be effortless for him, too. I chalk up my being unable to readily achieve the same kind of body to my slower metabolism.
Caleb's reply, because he knew how flimsy that excuse was, might have been, "Don't be lazy, and get up. Go on. Work the flabbiness off of your ass at the gym." His biting and sometimes caustic wit often motivated me.
I believed that it came more from his caring nature than from his being critical.
We met each other while we were standing in a line for registration at California Institute of the Arts in Valencia where we enrolled in its music and theater programs respectively.
We became roommates, and we were tight from then on. We never allowed embarrassment to keep us from telling each other everything. He was gay, and I think that was the most difficult thing for him to tell me. I'd already talked incessantly about finding girls for him to date and happily offering to console his leftovers.
I had been talking as if I were a guy who got around a lot, trying to impress him, though nothing could have been farther from the truth. I was pretty naive about relationships of any kind back then.